Joy or Happiness: Is There a Difference?

…Both are good things, right?

Are they the same thing?

If someone says “I am so joyful,” is that essentially saying, “I am so happy”?

Romans 15:13 
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Happiness is certainly an outpour of experiencing His joy. And how is that joy attained?

Maybe the issue isn’t in the difference between joy and happiness, but in the goal being for our own contentment or pleasure.

Isaiah 43:7

Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.

Our purpose, our very creation is for the glory of the Creator. Sinful humanity has, since the first humans, strayed from this core-shaking Truth.

My purpose isn’t to reap joy, contentment, or pleasure for myself. It is to glorify another Name entirely. 

Ephesians 2:10

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

If my purpose is to glorify Him, and He calls me to good works, glorifying Him must be good. 

^This “goodness” is fact, and relational, not the purpose.

THIS GOODNESS, this Joy, is a result of His gift– a gift that in my sinful nature, I do not deserve.

Matthew 16:24 
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

We are not promised happiness, or personal fulfillment in this life. Rather, we are told that following the Creator means humbling ourSELVES and looking to HIM.

And here’s a Truth:

When I whittle about in my own plans, my own efforts, and attempting to satisfy selfish desires, I am convicted, tired, and miserable.

Temple of the Holy Spirit

When, by His grace, I reckon the Truth that I am nothing without Jesus, that I am His and not my own, that my plans are withering more quickly than I can ever comprehend, that a life of fulfilling temporary pleasures is an imagined life– I am more joyful, slower to anger, better all for Him– than I could ever imagine being without Him.

That JOYOUS LIVING is a result of, as Jesus says in the book of Matthew, denying ourSELVES and following HIM.

So the question of “my joy” is nowhere in my concern or purpose, but only am I concerned with Jesus’ renown. This is the living I was created for, and when I respond to His voice and understand that the joy is a gift I don’t deserve, I can’t for a moment deny that I was created for Him alone. I am nothing.

And what does following Jesus look like? What is His example?

Philippians 2:3-8

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

I don’t want happiness. Jesus didn’t create me “to be happy for the blink of an eye on a planet of dust.” That very thought is laughable!

I want Jesus all in all. 

Jesus, make us more like You, now. Not with the premise of “going to Heaven” or any other selfish motives that humanity has tried to teach us. Breathe the understanding that our createdness, our most joyful place, is actually when “we” are out of the picture. 

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casswolfe

Welcome! Ever since I was a little girl I have wanted to own a blog, and I created this one to inspire others and help myself. I am a passionate twenty something-year old woman with a love of cooking, tap dancing, and meeting new people-- and of course, primarily an intention to die to my human self and seek God with my whole being. I will eat anything with peanut butter and love spontaneity. I aim to live life in submission to what Christ has for me. I'm currently studying Christian Theology and English at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, Canada.

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